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Me and my guitar: Plini

Australian instrumentalist Plini blends the space age with the classic for his signature Strandberg.

Strandberg

“I played an Ibanez for nine or 10 years and eventually I decided I would like a new guitar. At the time I saw Chris Letchford [Scale The Summit] was playing a Strandberg, Tosin Abasi from Animals As Leaders was playing one for a bit and Misha from Periphery was playing one. They looked fucking amazing so I thought, ‘That’s the guitar I need.’

“Eventually, I was on holiday going to watch a band in Berlin called Intervals and Aaron [Marshall] from that band was playing a Strandberg and I’d talked to him a bit online but I missed his set because I was late to the show, which is in character for me, but we met up afterwards and I got to play his guitar. And after holding it and feeling it I thought, ‘This is the most comfortable guitar of all time and I need one even more than ever.’

“We did a signature guitar in 2015, paired with the signature guitar for Paul Masvidal from Cynic. Mine was a fixed bridge and his had a tremolo arm, and we were touring Japan and Ola Strandberg was there at a promo event and me and Paul were kind of looking at each other going, ‘I kind of want one with a whammy bar’ and ‘I want one with a fixed bridge.’ And I had my inlaid [neck] and he had his, so Ola kind of got the screwdriver and Frankenstein’d it.”

Build

“It’s based pretty much on the Boden model; it’s got an ash body, maple top and then an Australian blackwood veneer on top, which probably annoys guitar collector purists because it’s not a big chunk of wood, it’s a little skin, which I like because you can make a lot of pretty tops from one tree. And our children will still have forests to play in.”

(Image credit: Olly Curtis / Future)

Pickups

“It’s got Suhr pickups: the SSH Plus [bridge] and SSV [neck]. I’m not really a gear guy but I went to the house of the guy that runs the Strandberg operation for the States and he had about 20 different models, all with different pickups and I just sat there for a day playing everything until I came across these pickups as my favourites and that’s why they’re there.

“I guess the reason I landed on these pickups is because the guitar is such a futuristic version of what an electric guitar can be, these are the best version of vintage pickups. I liked the fact that it’s blending the two different worlds in a way that you can make this sound like a classic guitar, even though it looks like it landed from space.”

Controls

“It’s a sort of like stripped-down version of the standard five-way switch and two knobs. I got rid of the tone knob because of a tour in North America, and the only tour where I’ve had a guitar tech because we were sharing one with another band. He would tune the guitars with the tone knob rolled off because it works better in a ‘vibration-y’ environment! So he would roll the tone knob off and give it to me still with the tone knob off and I’d start playing thinking, this sounds horrible. So I got rid of it so I could never make that mistake again.”

Pickup selection

“It’s a similar situation with the pickups in that I found I was only using the two humbuckers and then one of the two positions that split the coils - the rest of the time I’d just be fumbling around in the wrong position. So I turned it into just a three-way position and the middle position gets the Strat-y kind of sounds, which is super cool.”

Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before that I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar. 




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